Sick days and life lessons

I am sick. My self-diagnosis is allergies + cough + whatever it is that makes me unable to stay awake for 3 consecutive hours.  It doesn’t matter, whatever it is it has kept me on the couch for the better part of today with nothing to do but watch cartoons and action movies and talk to my friends in a whiny manner.

I’ve had a few variations of this conversation today:

Me – I’m sick.

Friend – Oh, I’m sorry. Do you need anything?

Me – No, but thanks.

It’s very nice of them to offer, although of course what they mean is “please don’t breathe on me.”  And of course what I mean is “Yes, I need an immune system. And ice cream. And a puppy.”  I cannot ask for these things, though, because I am an adult.  Except around my mother, and she wouldn’t bring me a puppy anyway.

I think I was still holding out hope for a visit from the ice cream fairy when a few hours later, this conversation happened:

Me: I should probably go get ice cream.

Lacy: I have wine.

Me: So you support this decision, then?

Lacy: I support every decision.

Yep.  That’s ten years of friendship summed up in four beautiful sentences.

So with Lacy’s blessing and the addition of a pair of pants, I went out and got some ice cream (and some ibuprofen, because I am not against conventional medicine, I just prefer desserts).  I brought it back to my apartment and cracked open my freezer, and what do you suppose I found?

A half-empty tub of ice cream.

ice cream tub

Right in front. Not even hidden behind the vodka or anything.

I’m sure there’s a lesson for us all here somewhere.  Sometimes what you’re looking for is right where you left it? No, that’s the tagline to Sweet Home Alabama.  Hmmm, be less ridiculous? No, that’s the opposite of what my life is about.  How about next time you start jonesing for sweets, maybe check your immediate surroundings first before driving off in a feverish state to the pharmacy, only then remembering that your car is threatening to die and you might be stranded with the local hobos and hooligans who populate the parking lot at night, and they might expect you to share your ice cream.

It may seem specific to you but I’m 80% certain this is something I’ll need to learn at least once more in my life.

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Best Things of the Past 2 Weeks and 2 Days

Here’s what I’ve been up to in roughly the last 16 days, Ma!

1. Volunteering and forcing my family to volunteer, too

Along with some alumnae of my college, I painted a fence and house in North St. Paul with Hearts and Hammers last week.  It was pretty fun — I mean, I don’t want to come paint your house, or anything — but getting to know different people and wearing my sweatpants in public without fear of judgment is always a good thing.  Until the next day when I could barely move my legs or neck.  I really, really won’t be coming to paint your house.

The next day I (somehow) went to Feed My Starving Children again, to another special session for the Horn of Africa!  This time I brought my mother and sister-in-law for some girl bonding.  There are no photos of this girl-bonding because no one looks good in hairnets.  Except, of course, my gorgeous sister-in-law.  I look even more ridiculous standing next to her, so really: no pictures.

2. Brewery Tour-ery

As alluded to in this post, I somehow managed to schedule myself for two brewery tours on Saturday: the Summit Brewery (again) and Flat Earth Brewery.  Did I have a great time? Of course I had a great time.  Was it a ridiculous decision? Of course it was a ridiculous decision!  Is there any other kind?

3. SKOL VIKINGS. SIGH VIKINGS.

Well, Lacy and I went to the game.  That much is true.  And our seats were not really that bad — we could see every blown opportunity just perfectly!

Jared Allen

We could also see Jared Allen's butt perfectly, so that's something.

Actually, that’s not nice.  They played thirty minutes of great football!  And then whatever happens to them at halftime every week happened again, and it was like the second they came out of the locker room — with a 20-0 lead — everyone in the place felt it.  It was no longer a winning football game.

I still managed to have some fun.  Being there with Lacy, for instance, was great.

Rachel and Lacy at football

This picture was taken during the first half; notice the absence of tears.

The, shall we say, tight ends are always appreciated.  Seeing my name on the back of about half the people in the stadium is a weird kind of thrill, too.  Chris Kluwe’s ricochet-style tackle was about as cute as a tackle can be.  And Jared Allen showed up, even if some of the rest of the team (or coaching staff) didn’t.

My throat hurts from 3.5 hours of screaming; my soul hurts from a lifetime of caring.  I’m not a sports analyst (or a movie critic, clearly); I just love the Vikings a little too much.  I don’t know what’s going on with them right now, but I will continue to cheer them on, lose or lose worse, season after season, because that’s just the kind of idiot I am.

Who wants to go to the next game with me???

Sports and wine: a winning combination

(see what I did there?)

In the effort of full disclosure, I should probably admit I went on two (2) brewery tours today, and might still be feeling the effects.  During the first, I kept Lacy abreast of developments via text message.  These are messages I sent her:

One (11:48 a.m.): “Beer one is a stout.”

Two (12:02 P.M.): “Two is an Oktoberfest.”

Three (12:25 P.M.): “And thE THIRD IS A PORTER WHY IS THIS IN ALL CAPS.”

As usual, I find myself funnier than anyone else ever will…even accidentally.

True Love at the Brewery

A picture from tour two: Promises were made, hearts were broken.

Anyway.  How excited are you all that Moneyball is in theaters??? Pretty excited, right?  I know I am; now maybe I’ll stop getting “exclusive invites” to this movie, which I already went to see once at a screening about two weeks ago.  I took my friend Becky, who charitably gave it an “okay.”  I gave it a “there’s a reason sports movies are usually about athletes and games and not general managers and math.”  But ONCE AGAIN IN THE EFFORT OF FULL DISCLOSURE, the reason Becky and I even went to this screening was the free wine they offered us beforehand.

First of all, how confident are you in your movie if you are feeding your preview audience wine ahead of time?  Second of all, why wine, which makes a lady* such as this pretty sleepy?  The last time I drank wine before a movie I wound up writing in my journal in the darkness halfway through due to boredom (different day, different story).  I didn’t do that this time, but I was restless.  In all honesty, the movie is getting good reviews, and it might be okay, except that it is pretending to be a sports movie.  As an avid watcher of sports movies, I can tell you this is less about sports and more about a dude who has a job.  Sometimes he’s on the phone or crunching numbers.  He also has an ex-wife.

If that still sounds appealing to you, go for it.  After all, dude is Brad Pitt.  And he does have a Jonah Hill sidekick.

So why did I title this post as if I feel positively about the combination of wine and sports?  Because THANKS TO A BOTTLE OF WINE and the proximity of the internet and an unfortunately memorized credit card number, Lacy and I will be attending our first ever Vikings game tomorrow.  We are sitting in a section that might as well be called “Hella Gone” but we absolutely could not care.  Even when I woke up the morning after said wine/internet shopping, and the first words out of Lacy’s mouth were “remember what we bought last night?” I’m more excited than ever.  You know I would have bought those tickets anyway, but thank you, Pinot Grigio, for convincing Lacy she “needs” to go with me.  SKOL WINE.

*I use this term loosely**

**see what else I did there?

#NKOTBSB (New Kids, Old Technology, Backstreet Boys)

Honestly, I haven’t thought that much about the New Kids on the Block in the past two decades. It would be weird if I did. But you cannot unlove the things you loved before you were twelve, and I loved NKOTB, hard, from about ages 5-7. There’s a reason I never got rid of that t-shirt – and not just because my brother bought it for me (he was 9 and I was 5, how adorable is that?). It was so I’d have something to wear 21 years later when I finally saw the, um, “New Kids” in concert.

Rachel in the NKOTB tshirt now

Once again not wearing pants; that's a skirt.

It gets better, of course, since the men of my childhood dreams are on tour with the men of my teenage dreams, the Backstreet Boys.  They have combined into some new entity called, and I still wonder if they’re kidding about this, “NKOTBSB.” Really guys?  Are you sure you want to go with that?

I dragged my “but I was an NSYNC girl” best friend Lacy* along for the ride.  I think I wore her down with repeated viewings of this video:

She could not resist those moves or outfits.

Lacy and I arrived at the concert in time to see the opening act, Matthew Morrison (yes, the guy from Glee), which would have been more exciting if either of us liked Glee.  And while he is amazingly talented, he was not in a boy band from our childhood, and couldn’t quite hold our interests.  Instead, we people-watched and joked.  Lacy posted a few of our choice statements on Facebook through her BlackBerry, and I thought, “this would be a great event to live-Tweet.”  Unfortunately, I seem to like my cell phones like I like my boy bands: from the ’90s.  My phone makes and receives calls and texts (most of the time), but that is the extent of its power; Tweeting was not an option.

I’ve been thinking of upgrading my phone for a while now, as I live in a world where instant communication is expected and goes beyond just phone calls or texts.  I’ve resisted out of a strong desire not to spend more money on something I’ve lived without so long (for a social-media-expert-in-training, I can be a real curmudgeon).  I can check my email at home; I do not need to “check in” everywhere I go because if it’s fun or awkward I’ll just write about it here later; and GPS? Try a paper map from 1989 that doesn’t even include the Target Center.  I’m all set!  Right?

There’s also the benefit of paying attention to reality.  Had I had my eyes on my cell phone, I would have missed the nostalgic magic.  And a strange kind of magic it was; the kind that can only exist in a room of 15,000 screaming 20-40 year old women.  The kind that made me realize I will never not be five years old, because the second Jordan Knight came on stage I lost my damn mind.  If I had been able to Tweet, there’s a good chance I just would have gone “Squeee!” and then forgotten about it anyway.  So here’s a more coherent translation of what I thought during the event:

1) All of these dudes aged really well.  Surprisingly well.  I did not come into this evening expecting to develop a crush on Donnie Wahlberg, but these things happen, right?

New Kids in Minneapolis

Donnie Wahlberg, commanding the Target Center with his abs.

2) I know all the words to songs I forgot existed.  Good job, brain.  You could be doing other things, like remembering your friends’ birthdays, but no, this is clearly a better use of your time.

3) Donnie wore a “Public Enemy” t-shirt, much like the one he wore in the “Step By Step” video, except glittery.  Drink that in for a second.

4) I’ve never heard Howie from Backstreet Boys speak before, and it turns out he sounds exactly like the cartoon character Phineas from Phineas & Ferb.

5) Like every musician who comes to Minneapolis, both bands referenced Prince and yelled “Minneapolis” a lot.  To which I say “I’m not from Minneapolis! Give some love to the right side of the river!” If I ever become a major pop star and play the Target Center, I promise to give St. Paul a shout out, too.  And reference Prince.

6) There’s Jordan Knight again, SQUEEEE!

7) The Backstreet Boys wore white suits during “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” then threw the coats on the ground during “Incomplete.” White coats are for complete people!  Or doctors!

8 ) Near the end (but before “Hangin’ Tough, much to Lacy’s annoyance), the Kids introduced the Boys and vice versa.  This is a nice idea, but I’m fairly certain that if you’re at an NKOTBSB concert, you know the names of the band members. And possibly their birthdays, star signs, marital status, hopes and dreams as described to Teen Beat in 1989, etc.

9) 12 year old girls who are currently obsessed with Justin Bieber…we are your future.

10) This was so much more fun than I expected.  Really, I bought the tickets out of a strong desire to giggle and experience ridiculous things, but the reality was even better.  Oh-oh-OH-oh!

What do you think? Was the Twitterverse at a loss without these deep thoughts on Friday night?  If the New Kids on the Block can’t convince me I need a smart phone, who will?

*At this point I should add that Lacy is a good sport, a great friend, and usually has way more “highbrow” tastes than me. But she also appreciates the silly side of life, which is how we’ve stayed friends for the past decade.

Talking ’bout things that nobody cares

No, I didn’t buy yet another TV series on DVD.  I borrowed “The Big Bang Theory” from Lacy, and she “Psych” season two from me — a swap long in the planning and resulting in one of the greatest voicemails I’ve ever received (“I packed it.  I think I packed it.  Anyway I…Did I pack it?  I packed it.  Did I?”).  She packed it.  We are nerds.  This show is about nerds.  I like it.

The weather isn’t so bad today, so my mood isn’t so bad, either.  I even had an iced beverage for my Friday morning Caribou.  I don’t go out for coffee as much as I used to — partly because I’ve finally learned how to make my own, partly because I’m cheap, and partly because I’m no longer caring for animals that need to be avoided (I still have nightmares about that damn parrot) — but walking across the street during my break makes Fridays seem special.  And I bought a nun some hot chocolate today; surely my reward is in heaven.

Anyway, it’s Friday, as I’ve mentioned, and the weekend looms before me.  Last weekend I went home and witnessed my future insanity in the form of my mother haggling over magnets at Goodwill.  This weekend Steve and I are doing something that will probably result in giggling, and then I will likely buy some books and maybe some food.  It probably doesn’t sound like much to you, but a weekend of books, gay men and food is my idea of a good time.

I’ve stopped looking for gray hairs, because every time I do, I find one.  I told my mother, and after explaining my “maybe I took a blow to the head” theory, she pointed out that I’m just turning into my grandmother.  Which is exactly what I didn’t want to hear, but I guess it’s better to think I’m turning into her than into Sweeney Todd.